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VND Article


Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, 1:46 a.m.

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Apollo Mayor Jeff Held recognized two Apollo police officers Thursday for their part in taking down a Monroeville man who allegedly shot at police after a 30-minute chase through the Kiski Valley last month.
Officers Jarred Kier and Ron Baustert received the Mayor's Award of Valor for their actions during the events of Sept. 17, which Held said contributed to the apprehension of 41-year-old Joshua B. Jesse at the border of Washington and Bell townships.

According to police, Jesse refused to pull over along Route 22 in Murrysville and instead led police on a 30-minute chase through the Kiski Valley in his gray pickup.

As Jesse made his way into Washington Township, Kier laid spike strips across a road near the Leonard C. Miller Bridge over the Kiski River in an effort to end the chase, Held said. Police later determined Jesse was traveling at an unsafe speed for the spike strips, which were removed from the road prior to his turn onto the dead-end Stefaniak Drive in Bell Township.

That's when Jesse reportedly jumped out of his truck and was confronted by Baustert and at least three other officers from the Kiski Township, Vandergrift and Parks police departments.

Police allege that Jesse ignored orders to stop and fired a .22-caliber handgun at the officers from close range, but missed.

Baustert and the other officers returned fire and incapacitated Jesse, who survived the gunshots. Police have not released how many times he was shot.

Baustert's use of deadly force was deemed to be legal and he returned to active duty on Oct. 11.
He declined to comment on the day's events on Thursday, citing state police's open investigation into the matter.

“It was the first time I had to pull the trigger on duty,” Baustert said. “Hopefully, it's the last.”
Mayor Held called the officers' actions “heroic” and lauded the “courage they exemplified in a brief, but volatile situation.”

“Television and the movies today often desensitize us to how dangerous it is to be a police officer,” Held said in presenting the award. “Most never have to fire a shot, but unfortunately, police officers are sometimes put in tough situations and must make a life-or-death decision.”

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or


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